The Elfje form originated in The Netherlands where it is used to teach young children to write poetry. The word Elfje means ‘Elven’ or ‘Fairy’ poem (from ‘Elf’ meaning ‘elven’ or ‘fairy’ and the sufix ‘-je’ meaning ‘little’). The form consists of 11 words spread over 5 lines.

How to Write Elfje:

An ‘Elfje’ counts as five sentences.
Line 1. One word. This word symbolizes a colour or feature. The word symbolizes the atmosphere.

Line 2. Two words. These are something or someone with this colour or feature.

Line 3. Three words. Giving more information about the person or the object. You describe where the person or the object is, who the person or what the object is, or what the person or object is doing. This sentence usually starts with the word ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘it.’

Line 4. Four words. Here you are writing something about yourself in relation to the person or the object. This sentence is your conclusion.

Line 5. One word. This word is called the ‘Bomb.’ It is the essence of the poem.

The example of a pure Elfje most often found on the Internet is:

the eyes
in the dark
Is there a cat?

To follow the rules strictly can be rather restricting and stilted so, as with all forms of poetry it is permissible to bend them a bit and most of the Elfje on this site will have done so to some degree. Below us my own Elfje in the form of an Acrostic which sums up the Elfje form (you can visit the original blog post here):

Elfje Acrostic

Little verse
Following simple rules
Just eleven words long

© Elizabeth Leaper (2012)

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